Ahhh, the great outdoors 🏔 Luckily it’s one of the safest spaces during this pandemic and spending time out there can be a much needed breath of fresh air (pun intended). That said, there are a few steps we can all take to look out for ourselves and our fellow hikers. Here are some suggestions for how to get out there and hike while COVID-19 is still around:
1. Get off the beaten path 🌅
As much as we love our weekend afternoon hikes, they’re busy. If you can, get out on a weekday after work or wake up early to catch the sunrise. Try out some more remote trails - this is an opportunity to step out of our normal hiking habits and try something new.
2. Mask on when passing others 🙏
We get it. It’s hot. You’re on mile 5, legs burning, walking uphill. The last thing you want to do is restrict your breathing. To show your respect, keep a mask around your neck or handy so when passing others, you can pull it over your face.
3. Hike in small groups with plenty of space 🗣
In general, we shouldn’t be out in large groups but this is especially true on tight trails. Once on the trail, if you and your hiking buddy are going to stop for a view, a rest, or just to chat, make sure you’re off the trail. This is always good hiking etiquette, but it’s especially important now.
4. Be human 👋
One of the best parts of hiking is the camaraderie that comes from walking the same path. Naturally, the trails during a pandemic are a little less friendly, and it can feel like you’re lucky to get a nod from fellow hikers. But we can all agree that during a time like this, some eye contact and a “how’s it going?” can go a long way. Just make sure you’re interacting with a mask on and from a safe distance.
In summary, it’s a weird time right now. But getting out into nature responsibly is one of the best things we can do for our minds, bodies, and communities. Take these steps into account next time you venture out and enjoy!
*We are no experts in public health - just a group of outdoor-lovers sharing what we've learned from the trail and research. If you have another tip to share, let us know in the comments below!*